THE JAPANESE government will assist the Philippines in the manufacture and installation of digital boxes to be used for the transition to digital television in five years, with Sharp Corp. willing to put up a manufacturing plant that will create new jobs and generate export revenues, regulators and an official from the Japanese embassy said last week.
The government is eyeing a switch to digital TV by 2015.
Motohiko Kato, deputy chief of mission of the Japanese Embassy, said the digital boxes for the Japanese system, which cost $10.98 per unit, are currently manufactured in China.
“To date, countries like Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Chile, Venezuela, Ecuador, Costa Rica and Paraguay are implementing the Japanese standard but the digital boxes are from China,” Mr. Kato said last Friday after regulators adopted Japan’s Integrated Services Digital Broadcast-Terrestrial or ISDB-T system as the Philippines’ digital television standard.
National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) Commissioner Gamaliel A. Cordoba said there is even a possibility of the Philippines eventually exporting digital boxes.
“The digital boxes will be manufactured here in the country and will provide 1,000 jobs to Filipinos for the next three to five years. We will also ask [the Japanese] to manufacture locally every equipment that they will need to install these boxes,” he said.
“In the near future, we hope that they will let us to export the digital boxes manufactured here to the Latin America where they have a big concentration,” Mr. Cordoba told reporters.
“Sharp Philippines pledged to set up a manufacturing plant in the Philippines to help cut prices of the set-top boxes that will be required for non-digital TVs,” Mr. Cordoba added.
It was not clear whether the government will subsidize the cost of manufacturing the digital boxes.
Last Friday, a memorandum of cooperation was signed by representatives from the Japanese embassy in Manila and NTC officials as part of the planned shift to digital television upon the adoption of the Japanese ISDB-T system.
NTC officials had said the decision to adopt the Japanese standard was reached with the backing of stakeholders from the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas, GMA Network, Inc., ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp., RPN Channel 9, and Vanguard Radio Network Co., Inc.
“The introduction of digital technology in the broadcasting service would ensure the competitiveness of the broadcast industry and afford them the opportunity to provide enhanced services to better serve the viewing public,” the NTC draft circular said. - dated 14 June 2010, 09:04 PM.Source: Business World